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Old 11-12-2011, 11:01 PM   #1
zentr
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Default 10 Gallon Crock Question

My father has a 10 gallon crock in his basement. It has been in the family a few generations. My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all made wine in it. I don't know much about making wine, but obviously it is possible to make wine in something other than a carboy, bucket, or barrel. Currently, I am just getting into making beer (only 2 batches so far) and I am planning on making 1 gallon batches of mead, apfelwein, and kombucha. I am certainly getting into fermenting, and DIY/homesteading projects in general. I want to make cheese too.

My father will give me the crock, but I want to make sure that I will use it. I don't want it taking up space in the basement. So my question is the following: Are there good ways to make use of a 10 gallon crock? For wine? As mash tun? Please help me with this decision.

Thanks!

It looks like the attached image, but bigger.

crock.jpg  
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:07 PM   #2
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Not sure what a crock is. I'm thinking crock pot, but I doubt that's what you are talking about. What is it made of? Better yet, can you post a pic?

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Old 11-12-2011, 11:32 PM   #3
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If several generations of your family made wine in it, then surely you can too.

Presumably this is an earthenware crock? Does it have a narrow mouth, like a jug, or a wide mouth with a cover, like a pickle crock? Either way, it should make a nice primary fermenter for up to 8 gallons of wine. You need head room for fermentation to occur, so you can't fill it full.

That said, a 10 gallon food safe trash can and lid, which is what I use, makes a perfectly good primary fermenter for wine too, and would doubtless be a lot easier to handle than a heavy crock. You don't need a totally sealed primary for wine.

The easiest way to get started making wine is to buy wine kits. Most of these make six gallons of wine. The 10 gallon crock will be fine for primary fermentation. It is too large for secondary fermentation, and you must do secondary fermentation with wine. You will need a six gallon carboy for that. The carboy needs to be full to within a couple inches of the stopper, else your wine will oxidize.

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Old 11-13-2011, 12:59 AM   #4
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Thanks for adding the picture. That would do fine for primary fermentation. If it doesn't have a lid, you can fashion one out of anything. A piece of wood. A trash can lid. There is no need for an airlock or a tight fitting lid for primary fermentation of wine. The lid just keeps debris out. A reasonably close fit helps to keep airborne dust out too.

Usually during primary fermentation you have to stir wine daily, which is why a simple lid that can be easily lifted off is all you need. If you are making wine from whole pressed grapes or from kits that have grape skin or raisins added, you'll have to punch down the cap (mix of grape skins, stems, seeds that float to the top of your wine) daily also.

It's only in secondary that you need an airlock in order to keep oxygen away from your wine. You won't be able to use that crock for secondary fermentation and bulk aging.

Now, having established that a crock like that is a fine vessel for primary fermentation, I'll repeat that a food-safe trash can is equally suitable and much easier to handle.

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Old 11-13-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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You could stick a manifold in the bottom attached to a siphon tube and use it as a mash tun. There's a thread (in think in the DIY section) about something similar. A fermentor would also be pretty sweet.

But like billtzk mentioned, the weight makes it a little impractical. That's not too say it's a bad idea, but you just need to make sure that you won't have to move it once it's full. I would either leave it on the floor and use a pump to empty it or build a skookum stand tall enough that you can rack out of it. Cleaning would be the worst part, especially if you use it as a mash tun.

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